12 January 2007

Moving the capital II

I was surprised at the comments I received to my last post about moving the capital (of course, I'm surprised - and deeply gratified - every time you take a moment to comment on my ideas). One comment noted I had become a "witless pawn in spreading that Valley propaganda."

For the record, I did ask Beth Kerttula about this bill, though she hadn't returned my call by the time I wrote that last post. Here's what she had to say:

"Fairbanks has the university, Anchorage has the center of commerce, Southeast has the capital. It would really be an imbalance to move the capital from Juneau. Moreover, it would quite literally destroy my hometown. You need to have the capital balanced. Our tradition is that the capital is in Juneau and I think that the capital should stay in Juneau."
I really liked speaking with Beth Kerttula and found her genuine in a way that not many politicians are. That being said, this was hardly convincing. Leaving aside G.K. Chesterton's, "Tradition is the democracy of the dead," I wonder where rural/bush/non-road-system Alaska fits in this careful balance she proposes. As the cultural center? As an economic boost for Southcentral? It's hard for me to have pity on Southeast when the problems that are forecast from a capital move - economic depression, population loss - are already clearly in evidence in my own region.

I may be a pawn but I don't think I'm completely witless.

5 comments:

First Alaskan Man said...

I admire Ms. Kerttula’s record of service. That being said, I think Alaska would be better served having the Capital being somewhere else. Taking Ms. Kerttula’s example, I would say that Alaska has become too bottom heavy and it’s time to move. Rural Alaska is suffering from lack of assertive leadership. Perhaps, and I know it is a long shot, if we can get our rural legislatures out from under their respective shells in Juneau, even if only to pander to the cameras, we might get some movement toward rural empowerment. I am starting to think that rural legislators are cloistered and spoon-fed information in Juneau. If that is the case, it is a prefect setup for insidious forces. It would be a lot easier for me to get to Fairbanks or Wasilla to talk to my legislators, and a lot less expensive. Hey, there is an idea, let’s move them to Fairbanks where they can enjoy some of the 40 below we have to deal with. Perhaps “urban” legislators would get an idea of what we have to face. As a working stiff, I can’t afford the Juneau board and room prices.

Anonymous said...

So your argument goes like this: rural Alaska is economically depressed, so it's OK kneecap another part of the state? That's a very Soviet way of thinking. How about concentrating on getting your lawmakers in Juneau to provide a more equitable share of the resources extracted from rural Alaska instead of concentrating even more power and money in Southcentral?

Coldfoot said...

How dare you accuse us of thinking like soviets when in your very next sentence you advocate for a "more equitable share of the resources extracted from rural Alaska".

Give us something other than "Anonymous" when you post a comment so we know in advance that we can safely ignore you.

First Alaskan Man said...

Kneecap another part of the state? No, what is said is without rancor, it is point of fact. While rural AK is depressed, it isn’t Juneau’s fault. However, with all this talk of moving the capital hall, Juneau will be watching their mouths when it comes to “offending” legislators. If one thinks further into it, how about this: If we move the Legislators, the talk will be about “the good ol’ days” when they were in Juneau. I think the sentiment would extend to Juneau getting more budget dollars from the State in future.
This goes to accessibility of our legislators and having them under the watchful eye of the press. Can you imagine the outcry if Rep. Bob Lynne had made the statement about the free oil at the capital in Fairbanks? I’m sorry to admit, I commented as anonymous on his blogspot. By virtue of his office, I respect that he was elected by like minded people and in hindsight, would retract it. As for having the Capital in Southcentral, it would not be my first choice. I think Fairbanks would be a better choice, it is cold, in the heart of Alaska and fairly earthquake and tsunami free. I don’t think we would have “special sessions” nearly as much in Fairbanks as we do in Juneau. I am reminded that special sessions are for special education before a vote by our elected legislators.

CabinDweller said...

No location is perfect, but Squarebanks does seem to be in the middle of the state, at least.

I'm pretty dead set against moving it to the Mat-Su/Anchorage, because The Lege is already dominated by that area because of the sheer number of people living there - they already have a preponderous of political power. (Hmm, try saying that 5 times fast.)

But, I must confess, I don't really want the capital here - there'd be too many people! (But then again, it might mitigate the overall right-wingedness of the place.)